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Allegiance or Personality Traits ?


rust

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While working on the setting described in the Age of Musketeers thread, I ran

into a more general problem:

If I want to encourage the players of characters that are members of a

knightly order to play those characters accordingly in a "knightly fashion",

should I use the Allegiance option or the Personality Traits option ?

At first I intended to use the personality traits, because they worked rather

well in my Pendragon games. But then I did read the allegiance option in the

BRP rules, and it (minus the Apotheosis part) also looks very well, even a

bit more to the point I want and more flexible.

To use both systems would most probably become a "bookkeeping overkill",

and I am not sure whether they would really be compatible.

So I have to decide for one of the options, but I lack any experience with

the allegiance rules.

Good advice would be most welcome - Thank you. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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If I want to encourage the players of characters that are members of a

knightly order to play those characters accordingly in a "knightly fashion"...

Meaning they wouldn't be inclined to roleplay their characters that way on their own? Meaning they're not inclined to be playing knights to begin with?

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Meaning they wouldn't be inclined to roleplay their characters that way on their own?

No, just meaning that they might find it difficult to play such characters, and

that rules that outline and reward the "expected" (not enforced) behaviour of

their characters might make it somewhat easier for them. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I don't have either of the games/rules you are talking about. However, in the real world, you will find that certain professions do attract certain personality types; and psychologists will confirm this. As an example, most employees that work at any casino, and stay working there, are gamblers themselves. I worked at a casino once. I was the odd-man-out as I wasn't a gambler and I absolutely hated working there. So I obviously did not stay.

What I'm saying is whatever system you use, just assume the individual knights have deep psychological reasons for being there. Otherwise they won't be staying around for very long. Just make clear what the rules of conduct are for the characters and that should be enough, I would think.

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While working on the setting described in the Age of Musketeers thread, I ran

into a more general problem:

If I want to encourage the players of characters that are members of a

knightly order to play those characters accordingly in a "knightly fashion",

should I use the Allegiance option or the Personality Traits option ?

At first I intended to use the personality traits, because they worked rather

well in my Pendragon games. But then I did read the allegiance option in the

BRP rules, and it (minus the Apotheosis part) also looks very well, even a

bit more to the point I want and more flexible.

To use both systems would most probably become a "bookkeeping overkill",

and I am not sure whether they would really be compatible.

So I have to decide for one of the options, but I lack any experience with

the allegiance rules.

Good advice would be most welcome - Thank you. :)

Use both. Allegiance is, or can be, roughly equivalent to Passions: Loyalty (Lord) etc. Personality traits would be what would outline a particular personality, and using underlined traits would be those that they aspire to, ala Pendragon.

I would suggest you explain to them what the setting is and allow them to choose appropriate values for the traits. I would then have them underline those that are valued by the Knightly Order and allow them to adjust a certain number of points. This way they can outline their characters personality and then modify towards the ideal.

I would also suggest that you nick the trait pairs directly from Pendragon as they are already optimized for a chivalric setting. The pairings in the BRP book are from back in the RQ II days; a method to define the personality of NPCs.

SDLeary

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I don't have either of the games/rules you are talking about. However, in the real world, you will find that certain professions do attract certain personality types; and psychologists will confirm this. As an example, most employees that work at any casino, and stay working there, are gamblers themselves. I worked at a casino once. I was the odd-man-out as I wasn't a gambler and I absolutely hated working there. So I obviously did not stay.

What I'm saying is whatever system you use, just assume the individual knights have deep psychological reasons for being there. Otherwise they won't be staying around for very long. Just make clear what the rules of conduct are for the characters and that should be enough, I would think.

I think it was a study by Michel Gauquelin in the 1960s that provided a statistical link between star signs and various types of profession.

Personally, I think the Jonathon Tweet idea of having star signs (eg Capricorn, Leo, etc) as archetypal personality types is a very easy way of representing this aspect in a RPG. Everybody gets them, and they are very easy to play. You could also check on the way astrology is organised into character types in Nephilim, I guess.

If you want more detail, the the 16PF inspired Personality Traits can be used also, although I personally think that Allegiance is a bit different to personality, as such.

Edited by TrippyHippy
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I think it was a study by Michel Gauquelin in the 1960s that provided a statistical link between star signs and various types of profession.

Personally, I think the Jonathon Tweet idea of having star signs (eg Capricorn, Leo, etc) as archetypal personality types is a very easy way of representing this aspect in a RPG. Everybody gets them, and they are very easy to play. You could also check on the way astrology is organised into character types in Nephilim, I guess.

If you want more detail, the the 16PF inspired Personality Traits can be used also, although I personally think that Allegiance is a bit different to personality, as such.

If I understand my history, star signs and such played a very big role in the medieval mind. You might have something here. Do you have any links?

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Well, astrological studies have been going on for millennia - archeological evidence has found that pre-historical man still traced the movements of planets, the sun and the moon.

The medieval mind seemed to like to divide everything into Greek elemental signs, which the Zodiac is related to of course. Indeed, Carl Jung's more modern 'personality types' (extrovert, introvert, thinking, feeling, etc) are all still based off an astrological data set, so really not that much has changed beyond terminology.

Links about Gauquelin can be found on wikipedia:

Michel Gauquelin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You could also check Jonathon Tweet's contribution to Unknown Armies - which can be found in the opening chapter:

www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ua2_preview.pdf

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Use both. ...

Thank you very much, I will do that. :)

@ Dredj & Trippy Hippy:

Star signs are an important part of the character generation of the Harnmas-

ter RPG system, and there they work rather well.

For me they would probably be somewhat less useful, because the intention

of their use is to make characters more different, and I am looking for a way

to make them more similar in a small area of personality and behaviour (what

"defines" a knight of the order).

To do that with star signs, a majority of the characters (and other knights of

the order) would have to have the same star sign, and this would make this a

bit implausible for me.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I'd use Personality Traits and Allegiance, but for different things.

Personality Traits describe what the character's personality is. It helps with roleplaying because the player can look at the Personality Traits and ask "how would my character be expected to behave in this situation".

Allegiance describes how a character is supposed to act, in terms of which organisations/cults/societies he belongs to. So a player could say "I think that my character would be expected to behave in such a manner".

However, neither of these should determine how a character behaves or what a character does.

If a character has Chaste as a Personality Trait but is seduced by a wanton barmaid then having Chaste does not stop him from being a naughty boy. Afterwards, he may well be wracked with guilt or he might be taken to task by his superiors for his immorality, especially if he has taken a vow of Chastity. During play, the GM may well ask him to make a Chaste roll to see if he is tempted and play may well proceed in different dorections depending on the result, but I wouldn't force a PC to behave in a certain way just because the player rolled or failed to roll Personality Traits.

After all, history is full of examples of people being expected to behave in certain ways but actually behaving very differently.

One caveat I will add is that someone who has a high Chaste Trait, for example, who goes around seducing everything in sight would quickly lose the Chaste trait as he is clearly not chaste. Similarly, someone with Brave who runs away from battle, or someone with Cowardly who charges into battle at every oppotunity might lose their trait. OK, the last example might be due to the coward overcoming his personality trait and might be a good story or plot link.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Thank you very much for this comment. :)

However, neither of these should determine how a character behaves or what a character does.

Apart from their "guideline" function, I intend to use the traits mainly to de-

termine whether a knight is considered eligible for a prestigious mission or

a promotion within the order.

For example, someone with a high Arbitrary trait is unlikely to be chosen as

the leader of a unit of knights, and someone with a high Cruel trait will pro-

bably not be chosen for a relief mission into an area that has been hit by the

Plague.

So, the player always decides how his character will act, unhindered by the

personality traits - but other knights and especially the leadership of the or-

der will watch the knight, and their opinion of his behaviour's compliance with

the order's rules and expectations will determine how they treat him.

If he is caught spending the night with the serving wench despite his vow of

chastity, he may well find himself on the walls of a remote watchtower for a

couple of months ... >:->

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you very much, I will do that. :)

@ Dredj & Trippy Hippy:

Star signs are an important part of the character generation of the Harnmas-

ter RPG system, and there they work rather well.

For me they would probably be somewhat less useful, because the intention

of their use is to make characters more different, and I am looking for a way

to make them more similar in a small area of personality and behaviour (what

"defines" a knight of the order).

To do that with star signs, a majority of the characters (and other knights of

the order) would have to have the same star sign, and this would make this a

bit implausible for me.

What I was trying to get at when I was drunkenly typing last night was that there needs to be at least one trait that runs through the entire order, personality-wise, that allows the knights to do their job as well as get along with each other. But you're already onto that.

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Ah, now I get it - sometimes I am a bit slow when it comes to comprehending

English. :o

Yep, you are of course right, and this is one of the reasons why I want to

use the Personality Traits: They do not enforce a specific behaviour onto

the player characters, but they give a good guideline which behaviour the

order expects from its members, and needs to operate smoothly. The cha-

racters can still behave otherwise, but the order will not like this, and in ex-

treme cases will even punish it.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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